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Marius V. Peelen, Paul E. Downing; Cortical representation of faces, bodies and their parts. Journal of Vision 2005;5(8):825. doi: 10.1167/5.8.825.
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This fMRI study investigated the visual representation of faces, bodies (without heads), objects and their parts in human cortex. Subjects were presented with images of faces, bodies, objects, face parts, body parts and object parts in an event-related design. Region of interest (ROI) analyses (N=11) showed a significantly higher response to whole faces compared to face parts in right fusiform gyrus and right superior temporal sulcus (STS). In contrast, right fusiform gyrus and extrastriate body area (EBA) responded equally to whole bodies and body parts. The significant effect of whole faces versus face parts but not for whole bodies versus body parts suggests that the representation of faces is more holistic than the representation of bodies.
In a whole-brain fixed-effects group analysis both faces and bodies, each compared to objects, activated the right mid-fusiform gyrus near the fusiform face area (FFA), supporting the results of Peelen and Downing (2005). Other common activations were found in bilateral STS, bilateral posterior inferior temporal sulcus near the EBA, anterior cingulate cortex, and bilateral inferior frontal gyrus. Direct contrasts between faces and bodies, even at low thresholds (p < 0.001, uncorrected), revealed only significant activation in bilateral EBA for bodies, challenging the category-specificity of previously identified face-related activations.
M. V. Peelen, P.E. Downing. (2005). Selectivity for the human body in the fusiform gyrus. Journal of Neurophysiology, 93: 603-608.
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